(Last Updated on : 22/02/2013)
Indian Tribal Jewellery is carved out in any forms, be it in Gold
or otherwise, clearly indicates the importance of the same. Lack of precious materials has never inhibited the wearing of jewellery and not even poverty or lack of technical skill has prevented the creation of innovative and striking forms.
The instance of such a spirit is best noticed among the tribes of India with regard to their ethnic pieces of jewellery. When the entire country was taken over by the spirit of globalization it was the tribal of India who had preserved the ancient crafts and arts of India. One such form of ethnic Indian art was the jewellery used by the tribes. Ornaments used by the tribes stand out in a crowd because of its rustic and earthy flavour. They make jewellery from the indigenous items that are available locally. Moreover the jewellery they prepare exhibit their artistic skill in a profound manner. Rather it can be said that the appeal of the tribal jewellery is mainly due to its chunky and unrefined look.
The materials which they commonly use to prepare the wonderful pieces of jewellery are wood, shells, bone, clay and some crude metals. Sometimes they also use hairs of animals in a painted form. The shapes which they use are basic and very close to the ethnic Indian art. Various tribes in India use different types of jewellery to adorn themselves. Sometimes it is found that may be they are scantily clothed but they have ample jewellery on their bodies.
The tribe of Bastar District
in Madhya Pradesh
uses a lot of grass, beads and cane to prepare their unique jewellery. Traditional ornaments made out of silver, wood, peacock
feathers, glass, copper
and wild flowers are also commonly used by the tribes of Bastar. Sometimes the women of the Bastar tribe are seen wearing necklaces made out of one rupee coin. It portrays the culture of Bastar District
. Similarly the Banjara Tribe is a group of nomadic people in Rajasthan
. The use of colourful, heavy jewellery is very popular among them. They make ornaments and a variety of belts which are heavily embossed with metal-mesh, coins, beads, shells and chains. Apart from the Banjara jewellery the silver jewellery of Rajasthan is quite famous. The silver jewellery comprises earrings, bracelets, anklets, bangles, amulets, necklaces and hairpins. The unique characteristic of this silver jewellery is an oxidized appearance. Along with the oxidized appearance they are often adorned with little silver bells and colourful beads.
The jewellery used by the north eastern tribes of India is exceptional in its look and artistic skill. For instance the Tribes of Meghalaya
like the Khasi
, Jaintia Hills
and the Garo Tribes
are known for their exclusive creation of jewellery. The Khasi and the Jaintia tribes mainly use thick red coral bead necklaces and the Garo on the other hand are identified with thread strung thin fluted stems of glass. The Bhutias
use the traditional gold to make jewellery. Along with gold they also use metals like silver, zee stones, turquoise and coral.
The Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
on the other hand use ivory, gold, bone, brass, silver and gold for making their beautiful pieces of ornaments. But that is not the end, along with using these common materials they also use blue feathers from birds, green wings of beetles and beads to decorate their ornaments. The Wancho Tribe
of Arunachal Pradesh
wear earrings made of glass bead, cane, reed, bamboo and wild seeds whereas the Karka Gallong women wear heavy iron rings in their ears which are coiled several times. They also wear necklaces made from metal coins and leather belts which are heavily studded with beads.
However, certain ornaments are worn only by particular sections of a given tribe. Among the Eastern Rengami Nagas, for instance, only the men wear flowers in their ears, red being the favourite colour. The men of the Angami Tribe
wear green fern or other foliage in their hair knots.
The jewellery used by the Muslim fakir at the same time is an important form of ethnic Indian Jewellery. The Muslim fakir comes from a tradition in which he uses ornaments of the poorest type but in a way, which is not concerned with beautiful effect. All his possessions include the coins and cowries
shells worn in his hair, the metal crutch on which he leans during meditation. The heavy, cast metal bangles are the identifying mark of his sect.
Thus it can be said that the tribal jewellery are the instances of skilled Indian dexterity even among the backward tribes and at the same time the jewellery used by the tribal people are a heritage to the Indian land. Even amidst higher stages of modernization it is very unlikely that the tribal jewellery will lose its place because a strange country flavour is closely associated with it.